Did you know there’s a method behind mixing patterns? Interior Designers and Decorators use several design elements to masterfully coordinate patterns for your space! Whether it’s throw pillows, bedding or patterns in a whole room design, these three elements are essential.
Here are some Key Things You Need to Know About Mixing Patterns Like a Pro
There are several elements of design to take into account when mixing patterns: scale, print, and color. These three key factors can be used individually or collectively depending your desired outcome. Here I’ll break down the use of each as a stand alone plus a final option taking all three into consideration.
Adj. Scale refers to the relative size of a design element in comparison to another element. As designer Steven Bradley wrote, “A single object has no scale until it’s seen in comparison with something else.”
In the below example, I’ll show you how to scale. Here, you’ll see three geometric prints. These three pillows work well because of scale. The lumbar pillow in the front has a large scale. The lines are two very distinct lines that consume the entire fabric making it minimal in it’s design. On the other hand, the striped pillow to the left has a medium scale. There’s more lines, less spacing and the pattern looks busier. Lastly, the pillow on the right has a small scale. There’s several lines that run in every direction, significantly less spacing in between and the pattern is much busier to the eye.
PRO TIP: Using similar prints in a similar color lends toward a minimalist and monochromatic design.
Adj. A graphic representation of a 2D or 3D design on a surface.
We’re all familiar with prints and patterns. Some common prints are:
- Animal Print
- and so many more!
In the below example, you’ll see three different patterns and how they work together. A solid pillow acts like a neutral base thus allowing for any patterns to take place without limitations. The striped pillow and geometric add visual interest. When working with print as a stand alone it’s important to use a variety of prints otherwise you end up with example above.
Here is another example of how three completely different patterns coordinate to work together, removing the neutral base of the solid pillow like in the last example. This design works cohesively because all three patterns fit in different categories. We have a graphic animal print pillow, striped pillow and a floral print.
PRO TIP: Using different prints in a similar color lend toward a bold but monochromatic design.
Noun. The property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.
To mix using color, it’s important to take it one step at a time to get it right the first time.
Step one: Find a colorful pattern you like.
Step two: Pull the colors from the pattern.
I’ve gone ahead and used Sherwin Williams Color Match (available via app) to show you the colors. This step is not necessary but it is important that you note the colors contained within the pattern.
Step three: Select the remaining pillows based on your pattern’s colors.
“In The Navy” is the dominant color of the pattern I’ve chosen above. It is important that you do not use this color again in the same large capacity. You can find a pillow with a touch of it to create a cohesive look.
PRO TIP: Using different colors lend toward a more colorful design.
and for the Grand Finale…
This example you see below includes all three key elements including scale, pattern and color. To begin you’ll note a large scale with the pink pillow, medium scale with the front pillow and small scale with the blue pillow. Additionally, this configuration uses stripes, a graphic animal print and a geometric print. Lastly, you’ll note the colors both the right and left pillows have are colors directly from the graphic pattern in the front. The combination of these is what allows this to be a successfully design space.
PRO TIP: Incorporating all the elements above lends towards a bold, statement-making room.
Next time you’re out shopping for throw pillows, think about the design you want your room to have. Is it monochromatic, colorful, or bold? You can use any of the above elements by themselves as I’ve shown in each example or in combination. I hope this guide has helped you learn about Mixing Patterns Like a Pro!